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Life Is Always Where We Are

Posted by Ed Reif» on - - 0 comments»


Any Given Sunday
Rain is bringing mudslides today, after a deluge of biblical proportions.
Yet, desipte the state of emergency declared, as I walk the streets of Messina, stop at a cafe and have a Cafe Americano, fiction is better than fact.

I think of The Godfather again. Do I H8 Vito and Michael Corleone or do I want to be like them?

Probably the most memorable character in that classic is the portrayal of Vito Corleone by Marlon Brando.



When I revisit the Tomato Patch Scene, it touches my heart because I think of my own Italian Grandfather, Oscar John Zito, and his garden. It is vivid and real and just like this picture, the spray can, the orange slice smiles and all.
Mike flees to Sicily
Im gonna speak Italian to Mike...


Then, I think of Michael from “That’s my family, Kay. That’s not me.” to "Don't ask me about my business Kay". Then the door closes on her, and on him as a war hero and the dream Vito had for him to be legit.

The traits that define Michael as a person are loyalty to family, cunning and strength. I gotta give him that. BUT:

The loyalty is- when he doesn't hesitate to eliminate the people he believes to have wronged his father. The cunning- when he arranges for a series of murders to occur while he is standing as godfather for Connie and Carlo's son, renouncing "Satan and all his works". The firmness- when he offs Tessio and Carlo. The strength- which borders on ruthlessness when he kills Sollozo and Captain McCluskey in the restaurant scene. That probably says it all for me--that he can be that guy. Furthermore, I always go back to the dialogue--from funny to profound, like the pizza man--it always deliver:


Leading off Don Vito Corleone (young and old), and later Don Michael: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

On family... Don Vito: "You spend time with your family?"Johnny Fontane: "Sure I do."Don Vito: "Good. Because a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."

Sacking up... Michael Corleone: "Senator, you can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this: nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally."

Woops... Jack Woltz: "Now listen to me, you smooth-talking son of a bitch. Let me lay it on the line for you and your boss, whoever he is. Johhny Fontane never gets that movie, I don't care how many dago guinea wop greaseballs come out of the woodwork."Tom Hagen: "I'm German Irish."Woltz: "Well let me tell you something, my Kraut Mick friend ..."

CSI ... Clemenza: "Leave the gun. Take the cannolis."

Smooth...Michael: "My father taught me many things here. He taught me, in this room, 'Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.'"

Absolute Power$... Archbishop Gliday: "It seems in today's world, the power to absolve debt is greater than the power of forgiveness. $600 million."Michael: "Don't overestimate the power of forgiveness."

Biz or Pleasure Sonny: "Hey, whaddya gonna do? Nice college boy, eh? Didn't want to get mixed up in the family business? Now you wanna gun down a New York City police officer, why, 'cause he slapped you in the face a little bit? Whaddya think, this is the army where you shoot 'em from a mile away? You gotta get up real close and - Badda-bing! - you blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit … Tom, this is business, and this man is taking it very, very personal."

Everyone needs a Luca Brasi... Michael: "[My father] offered him $10,000 to let Johnny go, but the bandleader said no. The next day my father went to see him, only this time with Luca Brasi. And within an hour, he had signed a release for a certified check of $1,000." Kay Adams: "How'd he do that?"Michael: "My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse."Kay: "What was that?"Michael: "Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract."

Ratt... Hagen: "When a plot against the emperor failed, the plotters were always given a chance to let their families keep their fortunes."Pentangelli: "But only the rich guys, Tom. The others got knocked off, and their estates went to the emperors, unless they went home and they killed themselves. Then nothing happened. Hagen: "Yeah, that was a good break. A nice deal."Pentangelli: "They went home, and they sat in a hot bath, opened up their veins, and bled to death. And sometimes they had a little party before they did it."Hagen: "Don't worry about anything, Frankie Five-Angels."

Cuba... Michael: "I saw an interesting thing happen today. A rebel was being arrested by the military police, and rather than be taken alive, he exploded a grenade he had hidden in his jacket. He killed himself, and he took a captain of the command with him."Random observer: "Those rebels, you know they're crazy."Michael: "Maybe so. But it occurred to me - the soldiers are paid to fight. The rebels aren't."Hyman Roth: "What does that tell you?"Michael: "They could win."

Old times' sake... Tessio: "Tell Michael it was only business. I always liked him."Tom Hagen: "He understands that."Tessio: "Tom, Can't you get me off the hook, for old times' sake?"Hagen: "Can't do it, Sally."

Show me the money... Jack Woltz: "And let me be even more frank, just to show you that I'm not a hard-hearted man, that it's not all dollars and cents. She was beautiful, she was young, she was innocent, she was the greatest piece of ass I've ever had, and I've had 'em all over the world! ... She threw it all away, just to make me look ridiculous! And a man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous! Now you get the hell out of here!Tom Hagen: "Thank you for dinner and a very pleasant evening. If you could arrange for a car to take me to the airport - Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately."

Ouch.. Fredo: "I'm your older brother, Mikey, and I got stepped over."Michael: "That's the way pop wanted it."Fredo: "Well it ain't the way I wanted it! I can handle things, I'm smart, not like everybody says, like dumb, I'm smart, and I want respect!"Michael: "... Fredo, you're nothing to me now. You're not a brother, you're not a friend. I don't want to know you, or what you do. I don't want to see you at the hotels, I don't want you near my house. When you come to visit our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won't be there."

Bad Luck Don Vito: "... But I'm a superstitious man. And if some unlucky accident should befall him [Michael], if he should get shot in the head by a police officer, if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he is struck by a bolt of lightning, I'm going to blame some of the people in this room. And then I shall not forget."

Giving the order... Hyman Roth: "There was this kid I grew up with, was younger than me, kinda looked up to me. We did our first work together ... As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on, he had an idea to build a city out of a desert stopover for G.I.s on the way to the West Coast. That kid's name was Moe Greene. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn't even a plaque or a signpost or a statue of him in that town. Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard, I wasn't angry. I knew Moe, I knew he was headstrong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, 'This is the business we've chosen.' I didn't ask who gave the order. Because it had nothing to do with business!"

Food=Love... Clemenza: "Hey Mikey, why don't tell that nice young girl that you love her? 'I love with you all a my heart, if I don't see you again soon I'm a gonna die.' ... Come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you may have to cook for 20 guys some day. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil, you fry some garlic, then you throw in some tomatoes, some tomato paste, you fry it, you make sure it doesn't stick, you get it to a boil. You shove in all your sausage and your meatballs, add a little bit of wine, and a little bit of sugar -- and that's my trick."

On drinking wine... Don Vito: "I like to drink wine more than I used to. Anyway, I'm drinking more."Michael: "It's good for you, pop."

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